If Clearwire (Nasdaq: CLWR) is going to make a little money selling off its unused wireless spectrum, it's probably going to do it via a deal with T-Mobile USA, the ubiquitous industry sources are saying. Clearwire hopes to use the spectrum auction to add as much as $2 billion for its sagging operational and capital expense coffers, but interest has waned to the point where only T-Mobile USA appears to be a viable option.
"T-Mobile needs to get something done more broadly on their 4G strategy and they are giving themselves until the end of the first quarter to have something basically done," one of the sources said. T-Mobile is also apparently looking in the direction of LightSquared as a source. That entity has also been mentioned as a possible spectrum provider for a cable 4G play if Clearwire goes away.
Clearwire's cable partners, Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA), Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC-WI) and Bright House Networks have indicated no interest in pouring more money into the WiMAX provider and other cable operators, including Charter Communications (Nasdaq: CHTR), have disavowed any interest in proceeding towards a similar partnership. Some speculation has even suggested that the cable industry might look at LightSquared as a way to proceed with a mobile broadband play.
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